News & Analysis as of

Permanent Doc Fix Bill Approved by House; Senate to Vote in Coming Weeks

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted 392-37 to approve the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2), a bill that would, among other things, permanently replace the sustainable...more

OIG: Exclusive laboratory arrangement may violate Antikickback Statute and result in exclusion for excessive charges

On March 25, 2015, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) issued Advisory Opinion 15-04, which found that an exclusive arrangement between a laboratory and its referring physician practices could violate the Federal...more

Senate Recesses Without Taking up House-Approved SGR Fix Legislation

The Senate has adjourned until April 13, 2015 without taking action on the House-approved Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which would repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, reform Medicare physician...more

CMS Publishes Update to DME Items Subject to Face-to-Face Encounter, Written Order Prior to Delivery Requirements

Today CMS published a notice updating the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes on the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) List of “Specified Covered Items” that require a face-to-face encounter and a written...more

On the Horizon … A Possible “Permanent” Cure to Medicare’s “Doc Fix”

In a historic bipartisan moment, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly 300-page bill that is intended to “repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate [“SGR”] and strengthen Medicare access by improving physician...more

News from MGMA re SGR Repeal

Historic SGR repeal passes in House - Today, the House of Representatives passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2, by a vote of 392–37. This legislation permanently repeals the SGR and returns...more

House Approves Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act

Repeals SGR Formula, Adopts Medicare and Other Policy Changes - Today the U.S. House of Representatives approved a major Medicare package, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which would reform...more

No SGR Action by Senate

Senate leaves for recess with no action on SGR repeal - Despite a successful vote in the House yesterday, the Senate failed to bring to a vote legislation to repeal the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)...more

House Plans to Vote Thursday on Medicare Physician Payments, CHIP Extension Legislation

After a decade of short-term actions, congressional leaders are pushing this week to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment rates, and replace the system with one...more

Congressional Leaders Introduce Legislation to Repeal Medicare's SGR Formula, Increase Physician Reimbursement Rates

A group of bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders introduced a bill, on March 19, to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment rates. The formula has called for dramatic...more

Time is Running Out to Avoid the Negative Effects of 2016 Value-Based Physician Payment Modifiers: CMS Releases Results of...

CMS recently released results of Medicare’s value-based payment modifier for 2015. This is the first year in which physicians are subject to adjustments under the payment system and, in this first phase of implementation,...more

Health Alert (Australia) - March 9, 2015

In This Issue: Judgments; Legislation; and Reports. - Excerpt from Judgments: Australia. Federal Court - 5 March 2015 - Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation v Kaizen Hospitals (Essendon) Pty Ltd...more

CMS Call on Physician Quality Reporting Programs (March 18)

On March 18, 2015, CMS is hosting a call to discuss how providers may report once across various 2015 Medicare Quality Reporting Programs, including the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Medicare Electronic...more

CMS Call on Home Health Clinical Templates (March 11)

On March 11, 2015, CMS is hosting a call to discuss paper and clinical templates intended to assist physicians and practitioners in documenting patient eligibility for Medicare home health benefits. ...more

Connecting the Dots: The Seventh Circuit Stretches the Definition of “Referral” to Find Anti-Kickback Liability Where a Physician...

The Seventh Circuit recently stretched the definition of “referral” under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) to affirm a lower court’s ruling that a physician can trigger AKS violations even if such physician does not...more

Medicare RAC Program Improvements Delayed Until 2016 - Shorts on Long Term Care February 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had planned to award new contracts to companies that act as Medicare’s recovery audit contractors (now referred to as recovery auditors) (RAs) for operation of the Medicare...more

Medicare and Medicaid Appeal Deadlines and Procedures: Laws that EVERY Health Care Provider Should Know

If you are a physician, most likely, you are not a lawyer. And vice versa. While there are exceptions, generally, the professions of physicians and attorneys are mutually exclusive. Personally, one reason I went to law...more

GAO Highlights Medicare Program Risks and Recommends Program Integrity Actions

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its latest update to its “High-Risk Series” reports, which again lists Medicare as a high-risk program, in part because of the program’s substantial size and scope, and...more

7th Circuit Court of Appeals Creates Expansive Definition of “Referral” Under the Anti-Kickback Statute

On February 10, 2015, in United States v. Patel (Case No. 14-2607), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a physician makes a “referral” within the meaning of the federal health care programs Anti-Kickback Statute...more

Quality Over Quantity: The Shift from Fee-for-Service to Value-Based Payment Systems

The United States Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently announced its intention to tie thirty percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments to alternative and value-based payment models by 2016. HHS hopes...more

Medicare Moves Strongly to Value Based Payment...A Tipping Point?

Over the last several years, doctors and other health-care professionals have worked to transform accountable care organizations (ACOs) from an academic idea into a meaningful presence in the health-care marketplace. Last...more

HHS Announces First Timeline For Medicare Pay Reforms

On Monday, January 26, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") announced a timeline for moving physicians and hospitals into new payment systems and tying Medicare reimbursements to quality of care....more

HHS Payment and Delivery Reform Announcement Sets Priorities for Remainder of Obama Administration

One week prior to the unveiling of the President’s first budget under a completely Republican-controlled Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made its most formal announcement yet on the Obama...more

Court Allows Home Care Group to Challenge Medicare “Narrative Requirement” Regulation

On January 9, 2015, Judge Christopher P. Cooper, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, issued a decision denying the government’s motion to dismiss the complaint in National Association for Home Care &...more

CMS Announces Enforcement of EHR Payment Adjustments in 2015

On December 17, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") announced that there would be reductions in Medicare reimbursement for health care providers who do not meet the CMS electronic health record...more

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